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Youth offenders

Leicester Children's Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). Health and social care needs associated with young offenders.

Children and young people at risk of offending or within the youth justice system often have more unmet health and social care needs than other children. For example, the 2013 Young Minds Report states that 95% of imprisoned young offenders had a mental health disorder. In addition, 80% had between 1 and 5 vulnerabilities including mental health issues, behavioural issues and social problems.

Leicester’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) work with young people aged 10 to 17 years who are convicted of criminal offences. For those young people who are involved in the criminal justice system the majority do not re-offend following their conviction. The re-offending rate for Leicester is 39.2% which is slightly higher than the national average of 37.9%.

Young people known to the YOS may experience a range of risks associated with their offending behaviour which can include school absence, not being in formal education training or employment, negative peer influences, special educational needs and poor mental health and wellbeing. There is a disproportionate number of children in need, looked after children, young people at risk of sexual exploitation in the criminal justice system.

Population Profile

The YOS cohort ranges from ages 10 to 17 years with a small number of 18 year olds.

  • 278 young people were supervised by Leicester City in 2015/16
  • 84% (n=234) of young people supervised by Leicester City YOS in 2015/16 were male
  • 72% of the YOS cohort were aged 15 and above in 2015/16 which was similar to the England average.
  • White young people make up the majority of Leicester’s youth offending population (approximately 60%).

The level of need in the population

First Time Entrants

The rate per 100,000 local youth of first time entrants (FTE) to the Youth Offending Service has been declining in Leicester since 2011/12. The overall reduction over the period for Leicester was 57%. The FTE rate is Leicester is higher than most peer comparators, and is similar to the Midland region and England.


The proportion of young offenders who reoffend has remained fairly constant between 2011/12 and 2013/14. This trend is similar to other areas, but Leicester has a higher proportion of reoffenders compared with peer comparators, the Midlands region and England.

Education Training and Employment

In Leicester, the proportion of young people in receipt of 25 hours or more of education, training or employment at the end of their court order is similar to peer comparators, the Midlands region and England.

Health Needs

The recent Full Joint Inspection (FJI) by HM Inspectorate of Probation and the Inspection of Youth Offending Work found there was room for improvement by the YOS regarding the health of young offenders. The FJI particularly found there should be better identification and management of young offenders’ physical health, sexual health and speech, language and communication needs.

The Leicester Youth Offending Management Board has accelerated this priority and is currently addressing these gaps and improving the health of local young offenders. Work is ongoing between relevant service commissioners to ensure the specific needs of this sub-population are fully considered and integrated into service planning and provision.

Projected Service Use

In the future it is anticipated the number of First Time Entrants to the YOS in Leicester will reduced. Figure 3 show the projected trend to 2017/18. Based on current trends there could be fewer than 100 FTEs in Leicester by 2017/18.


The recommendations based on the findings of this JSNA are available here.

Relevant Links

  • 2013 Young Minds Report
  • Public Health Outcomes Framework
  • ‘Review of the Youth Justice System in England and Wales’ (The Review)
  • Full Joint Inspection (FJI) by HM Inspectorate of Probation and the Inspection of Youth Offending Work